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Haiti - Agriculture : Improvement of income and opportunities in the coffee sector
13/07/2012 10:59:14

Haiti - Agriculture : Improvement of income and opportunities in the coffee sector
Nestlé, the world’s leading nutrition, health and wellness company, will join a project to improve the incomes and economic opportunities for 10,000 small-scale coffee producers in Haiti, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) announced yesterday.

The Switzerland-based Nestlé will provide $300,000 in in-kind technical assistance to a coffee value chain project supported by the IDB’s Multilateral Investment Fund (FOMIN), the French Agency for Development (AFD), the Colombian government, the National Coffee Federation of Colombia (FNC) and Haiti’s National Coffee Institute (INCAH).

Nestlé’s assistance will focus on efforts to rehabilitate coffee orchards, improve farmer productivity, and facilitate knowledge transfer. The project is being carried out by the French NGO Agronomists and Veterinarians without Borders (AVSF).

Until two decades ago, coffee was Haiti’s principal farm export, representing as much as 70 percent of its foreign agricultural sales. A combination of international and domestic factors contributed to a sharp decline in output, which was compounded by a persistent lack of farm investment. As a result, coffee exports shriveled from 191,000 bags in 1990 to 16,000 bags in 2009.

The value chain project aims to help Haiti regain its position as a world-class coffee producer. One of its principal goals is to raise yields of coffee and other staples grown by farmers in "Creole gardens," strengthening their families’ food security. With appropriate investments and cultivation techniques, their coffee output could double.

To help raise farm productivity, Nestlé will supply high-yielding coffee seedlings to replace ageing coffee trees on Haitian smallholder farms. The company will also provide seedlings for staple crops such as banana and yams that promote food security.

Through its office in the Dominican Republic, Nestlé will provide direct technical assistance to small coffee producers in Haiti. The company will foster knowledge transfer and best practices by sponsoring study tours between Haiti and other coffee producing countries.

The coffee value chain project is due to be officially launched Friday in the Thiotte coffee-growing region, with the participation of more than 100 stakeholders in Haiti’s coffee sector including growers, representatives of producer organizations, cooperative networks, roasters, the Ministry of Agriculture, donor agencies, and NGOs.

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